Mooncakes are the popular treats eaten during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the eight month on the lunar calendar (which this year falls on October 4). As a celebration of the full moon, the holiday is spent sharing moon-shaped cakes. New flavours of these tasty delicacies are created every year. Here are some of the more “out of the box” varieties that are surprisingly delicious.
Firstly, mooncakes usually fall into two different categories. There are the traditional variety, made with salted duck egg yolks and lotus seed paste, and then there are snow skin mooncakes – these are non-baked mooncakes, made with a glutinous rice crust that is frozen and can be filled with a larger variety of things – chocolate, ice cream, fruit, spices, tea or even infused with alcohol. Now for this year’s surprising yet delicious flavours…
Gula Melaka Pandan
Created by award-winning pastry chef Janice Wong, aka the ‘dessert queen of Asia’, comes an Assorted Mini Snow Skin Mooncake gift box from MGM Macau. The box contains nine different flavours and mixes the traditional lotus paste with chocolate ganache fillings. The highlight of the collection is the Gula Melaka Pandan flavour, which has a light touch of coconut scent, while the salted egg flavour harmonises the sweetness of the chocolate and the savoury taste of the salted egg yolk. Other flavours in the collection include Jasmine Tea, Champagne, and Strawberry Shortbread.
Yes, really. Starbucks has taken inspiration from customers’ favourite beverages to create three indulgent mooncake flavours. First up, inspired by Starbucks Vanilla Latte, a traditional custard filling is complemented by a sweet vanilla seed. There’s also the Early Grey Tea Mochi Mooncake – infused with Earl Grey tea on the outside and filled with a delicious Oolong tea filling and a soft chewy Earl Grey Tea mochi. Finally, there’s the Caramel Lava & Coffee Mooncake – salted caramel lava oozes from the centre of the mooncake, which is blended with Starbucks coffee to make an ideal edible companion to your next coffee fix.
For a floral taste sensation, look no further than these Mini Rose Purée with Roselle Mooncakes from Cuisine Cuisine in Hong Kong. They are infused with rose jam that is mixed into a creamy egg custard filling. When you open the package, there is also a hint of rose perfume. The mooncakes have a lingering taste of roselle, small bits of which are mixed into the filling to add texture. The result is a delicious flavour that doesn’t make the mistake of being too sweet.
In the tradition of all things offering a green tea or matcha flavour these days, mooncakes are no exception. Green tea fanatics will be glad to know Golden Leaf at Conrad Hong Kong has green tea mooncakes available this year, where subtle herbal tea notes are complemented with salty, creamy egg yolks.
For a tropical twist on the traditional mooncake, pineapple is added as the main filling ingredient at Fairtaste Hong Kong. The sweetness and sourness of the pineapple mixed with the flavour of the salty egg yolk form an incredibly refreshing taste.
Master chocolatiers Godiva offer the ultimate Mid-Autumn Festival chocolate indulgence in the form of chocolate pastry mooncakes with four heavenly flavours – sea salt and hazelnut milk chocolate sponge cake topped in milk chocolate, raspberry and almond chocolate financier with dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate ganache with freshly roasted nuts, and almond chocolate financier with an almond paste filling.
Traditional mooncakes don’t skimp on calories and are known for being high in sugar and oil content. But fear not, there are still tasty options for those looking for something a little more gentle on the waistline. The Cakery in Hong Kong has come up with a range of healthy mooncakes made with almond flour and maple syrup as base ingredients, and they have the addition of superfoods such as black sesame, red date and matcha.
Egg custard tarts are a classic dessert in Hong Kong, and so it makes sense that their mooncake equivalent would be equally as popular. The best egg custard mooncakes are produced by the Peninsula – Hong Kong’s luxury flagship hotel. Featuring a delicate pastry encasing a rich custard filling made from duck eggs, these delicious treats are some of Hong Kong’s best.
Whisky, martini, rum
Most things are the better for having a splash of alcohol added, and mooncakes are surprisingly no exception. The alcoholic snow skin series offered by Old Seng Choong contains delicious truffle centres and features unique flavours such as coffee with chocolate and Macallan whisky, cranberry with choya, passionfruit with martini mint and, best of all, chocolate with rum.
Strawberry and mango ice cream
Quite honestly, these are just mooncake-shaped ice creams, but they’ll do the job for anyone who’s not a fan of traditional mooncakes. Häagen-Dazs offers a box of chocolate-covered ice cream ‘mooncakes’ in flavours like chocolate, mango, green tea and vanilla, but the standout winner is the Harmony Mochi mooncake – a box of four mooncakes that wraps strawberry and mango ice cream in a delightfully soft and chewy mochi skin.